Tips to avoid Festive Burnout stress - Business Works
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Tips to avoid Festive Burnout stress

by Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services, AXA PPP Healthcare The countdown to Christmas should come with a health warning as stress, exhaustion and illness dubbed 'Festive Burnout' prepares to strike offices, according to Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services at AXA PPP healthcare.

All work and no play

  • 69% of employees workloads increase in the run up to Christmas.
  • Workloads increase on average by 30 per cent during this time.
  • 68% think about work during their Christmas break.
  • Over a fifth (21%) check work calls and emails several times a day over the Christmas holidays.
The findings of AXA's new investigation of 2000 people revealed that, even for those fortunate enough to avoid Festive Burnout, many still struggle to switch into holiday mode. Whilst one in four Brits say that Christmas is their favourite time of the year, a third tend to start their holiday feeling burnt out from the stress of the run up to the holiday break. For many, it is downhill from there.

Merry Sick-mas

Three-quarters of Brits say theyve been struck by Christmas sickness for over a quarter (28%), this is a regular occurrence.

  • For nearly half (45%), their illness lasts for two or more days.
  • 36% of Brits have had to cancel plans with family and friends because of Festive Burnout.
  • Festive Burnout hits the legal profession, entertainment and travel & tourism industries hardest, with over 80% having suffered from illness over their Christmas holidays.

The stress of the festive countdown and holiday period is so severe that over a quarter (26%) of Brits wish they could skip Christmas entirely and 41% return to work after Christmas feeling relieved to be back, shattered from the holiday season or worried about their heavy workload.

"For many employees Christmas is full of stress and pressure and the chance to recharge their batteries is overshadowed by exhaustion and illness," said Mark. "Prior to the holidays, employers need to take precautionary steps to ensure that their employees get through this hectic period and come back firing on all cylinders in January."

"The good news is that a few simple steps can make all the difference and its a good opportunity to motivate employees and encourage a positive work atmosphere, rather than dwelling over what hasnt been done. Banishing the Festive Burnout is in your hands!"

By encouraging employees to make some small, but important lifestyle changes, employers can help them to avoid the downsides of the festive frenzy that grips offices in the run up to Christmas.

Three small steps employers can take to help employees avoid Festive Burnout:

  1. Remind employees about the support services available it is very easy for employees to forget about all of the benefits available to them, so employers should use the high pressure festive seasons as an opportunity to remind employees about any helplines or employee assistance programmes available through their benefit scheme. We recommend that employees put these important telephone numbers into their phones so that they have them to hand if they, or their family, need them.

  2. Priorities be realistic about what can and cant be achieved before the Christmas break. Encourage employees to re-evaluate priorities so that they can focus on time-sensitive work that requires their attention.

  3. Ensure business continuity However small or large a team, its a good idea to share a work and holiday schedule and a pre-agreed rota identifying who is the main 'out of hours' contact. This will enable those who have booked days off to relax fully, safe in the knowledge that work will be picked up by those 'on rota' or those who choose not to take time off.

"You can find more tips on combating stress and Festive Burnout at our online Stress Centre."

For more information about AXA PPP Healthcare, please visit: visit:

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